I've just wrapped up the most amazing conference I've ever attended (okay, it was 3 weeks ago, but I didn't post this when I wrote it!) I don't know where or how to start this post. I guess I'll start with the thought I woke up with in my head this morning...
"I never want to try to lose weight again. I'm not going to lose weight anymore. I am going to 'gain health.'"
For years, I have tortured myself over numbers. Numbers on a scale that had no value other than to degrade my sense of accomplishment or to enable my pride in success. It was a bipolar relationship that served me not. It was a false sense of security. It was unhealthy.
Even those of us who have education to tell us we shouldn't obsess over the little things... do. We want to attach measures of success to this device that is faulty and provides only a false sense of security. It means nothing. In zero gravity, it has no purpose... it is a grave digit, a dirty secret to some, but to me, it meant I was finally able to shed the shield of darker days. I was living and not hiding from my weighty secret.
I avoided addressing the number on the scale for the first twenty-two years of my life. I was told I was beautiful by my parents, but they were concerned about my weight. They tried to help me. I resisted. I did not want to talk about my weight. It was the literal elephant in the room. So, when they drug me to Children's hospital and that mean old doctor and dietitian insisted I ate buffalo meat for 6 months, I complied... to a point. Then I hid in the closet and devoured 6 or 8 boxes of girl scout cookies to sulk in my "starvation." I hated that everyone wanted to control me. I hated that I wasn't just naturally like everyone else in my grade. From the first time I went to the nurse in first grade to get weighed every Friday to Weight Watchers at 8 years old to the time I graduated from LSU, I resisted listening to them because the message was negative. You're too fat.
When I decided to take control of my health at twenty-two, I initially was very successful. I went from weighing 353 lbs at a doctor's appointment with Dr. Danton (I remember this moment clearly) to starting Atkins and dropping 75 lbs relatively easy. I became more active. I worked out. I didn't let anyone's negative perception skew my goal to be healthier. I just worked at it, but I stalled I stalled at 275 lbs for four years. I remember torturing myself on the scale and trying to understand why it wouldn't do anything.
Then came the Lapband, that worked to a point. Until year two when things started to go awry, I couldn't eat in the mornings, I got terrible acid reflux, I became an insomniac because I would lay in bed for hours at night feeling tortured. It felt like I was constantly being choked. How pleasant is that? I have conceded with my experience, the Lapband was not for me. I know it works for some, it did not for me. Anxiety played a role in it, but also, just general, constant uncomfortable always on my stomach. That constant clenching was intolerable for me.
Is banding where it's at though? So many other options are due on the market. The FDA is approving new weight loss drugs that may or may not be a good option for consumers. My only advice to anyone is to consume wisely. Do not think you can have a surgical procedure and never have to worry again. Your weight and your ways are a battle you can win by doing right for yourself. Do good, be well.
I won't share my future plans, but I will say this. I have the confidence in myself each and every day to eat healthy, move more and live with enough satisfaction that my actions matter. My life matters. I care about how others address this problem in their own lives and work toward social awareness and the betterment of our communities. I don't know if I'll ever have the opportunity to have WLS to help me.
I must address this as politely as possible. I don't want to offend anyone. BUT please recognize that weight loss surgery is only an opportunity-- I hate the "tool" concept. You know what a "tool" is to me? A tool is something that helps you in your work. It makes your job easier. So, when people say, "Weight loss surgery is the easy way out" and that ticks you off, then you turn around and call your procedure a "tool," you've just negated your belief system, IMHO. Your weight loss surgery procedure is an opportunity for you to get healthy, learn to listen to your body more closely, and a way to good health. You have to put in ALL the work, because at any point and time, you could fall down the slippery slope to bad habits again.
Don't do that. Cherish your opportunity. Realize that someone (or a collective someones-- called your insurance group policy) spent a lot of money betting on your success. Or, if you were like me, you spend a lot of money out of pocket for that opportunity. Realize your opportunity is bigger than yourself.
Have the determination to get out and do it. DO what you NEED to do to gain health. Gain life and develop a routine of fulfilling exercise and creative, healthy nutrition. Feel good about your choices every single day. "Take good care of yourself" is not just a mantra, it is the way of life.